Lumen Gallery in Capitola Village.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Pride flag vandalism aftermath in Capitola, Branciforte Fire’s future & vintage resale

G’day, friends and neighbors. It’s Monday, July 17, and Santa Cruz County is looking at a mostly sunny start to the workweek, with temps ranging from the low 70s closer to the bay to the upper 80s in the hills as fog burns off.

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After a Capitola Village gallery saw its Pride flag stolen twice in recent months, it and neighboring businesses are joining together in support of the local LGBTQ+ community, Max Chun reports. “It’s a bummer because it feels like Santa Cruz puts on this front that we’re so liberal,” says the owner of Lumen Gallery, “but there’s an underbelly in Santa Cruz that people don’t talk about.”

From just north of the Santa Cruz city limits, meanwhile, Christopher Neely reports on a crucial stretch for the financially strapped Branciforte Fire Protection District. Voting ends this week on a tax that, if passed, would boost staffing, even with efforts underway to consolidate the Branciforte district with Scotts Valley’s.

And the vintage-goods scene that’s helped drive a retail renaissance in downtown Santa Cruz is in focus with a pair of stories. Gabrielle Gillette has the latest in Lookout’s How I Got My Job series, profiling Sandra Renteria, whose teen love of thrifting has propelled her into a rewarding career and owning her own store, Angel Aura Vintage. And Beki San Martin examines how sellers source vintage goods and what separates vintage from thrift.

Monday’s headlines also include Wallace Baine on the graphic designer behind Microsoft’s new default typeface, named Aptos, and a Community Voices opinion piece on what one Santa Cruz resident has learned teaching poetry in local jails. Let’s get to it.

Capitola Village businesses double down on support for LGBTQ+ community after Pride flag vandalism

An American flag decorated with Pride colors on the
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Lumen Gallery in Capitola Village saw its Pride flags stolen on two separate occasions this year. Some neighboring businesses are surprised, while others are not. Lumen Gallery owner Cierra Ryczek has ordered more flags and plans to give them to businesses interested in displaying them to show their support. Max Chun has details.

FROM MAY: Drag Story Time organizers denounce anonymous transphobic letter

The fate of Branciforte Fire’s lone station sits with voters this week

Branciforte Fire Protection District's lone station is located along Branciforte Drive just north of Santa Cruz city limits.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Ballots are due Thursday from property owners in Branciforte Fire Protection District, just north of the Santa Cruz city limits around Branciforte Drive and Granite Creek Road, for a tax that would raise an additional $1 million per year and provide enough money to double paid staff from three to six. The vote comes amid a push to consolidate Branciforte Fire into the neighboring Scotts Valley Fire Protection District. Christopher Neely sets the scene.

MORE SANTA CRUZ COUNTY POLICY AND POLITICS: Sign up here for In the Public Interest, Christopher Neely’s Monday newsletter



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A busy start to this mid-July Monday, and there’s more on the way from Lookout. Christopher Neely’s Monday report on Santa Cruz County politics and policy, In the Public Interest, is coming soon, and you can get that and all of Lookout’s other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts, delivered right to you by signing up here. Lookout is also on social media — connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Courage, friends — may your Monday be a smooth one.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz